Executive Summary

Behrooz Fattahi, Aera Energy
Alan Johnson, Shell UK

This Editorial marks the end of my two-year term as the journal’s Executive Editor for the Reservoir Evaluation side. At the New Year, I will hand my title to Cosan Ayan who will share his Editorial duties with Behrooz Fattahi. Cosan has been a SPEREE Review Chair for a number of years and brings a wealth of both technical and editorial experience to his new position.

I would like to start by thanking my team of Review Chairs and Technical Editors, who have continued to produce high-quality reviews and feedback to authors during a period that has not only seen a significant increase in industry activity in general, but also has witnessed a remarkable growth in the number of papers submitted for potential publication. I must offer my sincere thanks to the SPE editorial and peer-review staff, in particular Stacie Hughes, without whom this job would be impossible. I would also like to acknowledge the advice and support I have received from my two co-Executive Editors over the past two years: Birol Dindoruk and, most recently, Behrooz Fattahi.

In fact, I would like to turn now to Behrooz’s contribution. In his most recent editorial, Behrooz outlined the tremendous success he has achieved in the recruitment of new Technical Editors to our team. As he reported, he received more than 1,000 applications, of which he forwarded more than 200 to my Reservoir Evaluation team. From these, to date, I have recruited some 50 new Technical Editors to various review teams, while still more are in the process of being signed up.

On the Reservoir Evaluation side, the review teams are split into a number of specialty groups, covering broad areas: petrophysics, reservoir performance and evaluation, testing and sampling, core analysis, reservoir geology, pressure transient analysis, and geophysics. I have listed the above groups in order of the number of papers received in the past year, with the highest number being in petrophysics. As you might expect, the distribution of Technical Editor applicants did not quite match this workload distribution, although the largest applicant group was indeed for Petrophysics. As a result, it has been challenging to match up all applicants with the areas in which they are most needed, and we have unfortunately been unable to accommodate everyone—at least for the time being.

One significant addition to the Reservoir Evaluation team is the creation of a new team to handle the increasing number of geomechanics papers now arriving for review. This team has been made possible by the number of new applicants we have had who are specialists in this area—a fortunate coincidence between the results of the recruitment drive and the increased industry focus on this subject.

These additions to our review team are most timely. In preparing for this editorial, I looked back to December 2005 to see what my predecessor, Erdal Ozkan, had to say at the end of his term. One key fact that I picked up was that he noted how, during his two-year term, the average number of papers reviewed for potential publication on the reservoir evaluation side of the journal was 180 papers per year. Going back through statistics from my term, I note that in 2006 this had risen slightly to around 200 papers submitted for review. Up to October of 2007, we had received 325, with more still coming in.

To obtain a longer-term perspective, I have looked back at the paper numbers assigned to only theSPEREE petrophysics group, where I was Review Chair before becoming Executive Editor. The results are as in the following graph.

Again, the almost doubling of activity by 2007 is clearly evident.

One may surmise that this increase relates to the general increase in activity in our industry, an increase related—to a large extent—to rise in oil price. This echoes back to the editorial by Behrooz’s predecessor, Birol Dindoruk, in February 2006, where he also recognized a correlation between the overall number of abstracts submitted for review, and the price of oil.

One can only guess how this trend will continue in years to come. In the meantime, this has presented a significant challenge to our review system. For an extended period, we have been happy and able to operate with roughly the same review structure and general team sizes, but now it is clear that changes are required—further emphasizing the timeliness of Behrooz’s recent recruitment drive.

In closing, the job I am passing over to Cosan looks like it will be played on what is now a changing and somewhat uncertain playing field. Nevertheless, I do believe that the changes we have put in place will provide a good foundation for the efficient operation of the review process in the coming years.

Let me close by wishing you all every happiness and success in 2008 and the years ahead.

-Alan Johnson